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Question about Buddhist Robe Colors

edited December 2010 in General Banter
Just a quick question: a dharma buddy recently gave me some disks on a Dalai Lama lecture he gave in the UK on the four noble truths, very long and comprehensive. Now to the question. I saw a lot of monks all wearing different robes, brown, maroon, gold & maroon, orange I think, etc. Then I saw a group wearing what looked like white or maybe just off-white. I've never seen any monks wearing white robes and was wondering if anyone knew what kind of monks they were, where they would be from? Thank you.


  • They were not monks, but rather ngakpas-- lay tantric practitioners.
  • Oh. Cool, thanks
  • NgakpaKJTNgakpaKJT Vermont New

    This is an old thread but I would like to append that in most countries of the Himalyan plateau (ie. Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim,Tibet, Ladakh) as well as Mongolia, the zen shawl is worn publicly by ordained ngakpas... who have important village roles in support of lamas. They are identified by their robes and sought out in small communities, where they act as a bridge to less-available teachers as well as do the typical work of lay "priests" such as performing marriages, reading bardo thödol for the dying, asking blessings for crops, etc. Their individual ordination is linked to a particular ngakpa-teacher who asks specific samaya and lineage duties of each trained ngakpa.

    The robes (including white skirt and upper garment as well as the burgundy & black-striped and mostly-white shawl) also... at least in the U.S. and Europe.. identify specific commitments and availability to help out lamas in teaching situations.

    In other words, the zen shawl is not a decoration - it is a publicly and institutionally recognised symbol to identify practitioners with particular skills and training.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    The members in question have not posted or been on forum for some considerable time. I entirely doubt that they would return or have a continued interest... The threads are 8 years old.

    The topic has never been discussed since, so the relevance is rather anecdotal, because as far as I am aware, there isn't a single member now, to whom this might apply...

    But thanks for the info.

This discussion has been closed.